These poems were first accepted for publication with Parcel and they appear simultaneously—there and here—with permission from the author and the editors.
Vines growing from the mouth
—after Neo Rauch
Pray to the snails and snakes, to things that slither,
pray to the new neon lights marking here,
here, HERE: pray to the television.
Beyond the hill, tanks fire, although just
expending their red shells in the dirt,
so poisonous with a touch we could die
in the grass near our feet, these mushrooms.
Let’s spin our tops anyway.
Let’s play under the eves of this green house,
under birch and bark, under branch and leaf
on the delicate edge of destruction.
The house says nothing, yet makes effort in
blank balloons the length of itself. It’s tired
of parking lots, of carnival rides, tired
of being behind the game, trailing
all action undertaken. Look inside me,
it begs for our attention, waiting
behind curtains, I will reveal my secrets.
Let’s spin our tops anyway;
with the paper dolls’ tales severed, their clothes
no longer stay on bodies, no longer
can they remain upright, interact
with one another, without blowing down.
Some peaches or an orange
—after Neo Rauch
In the clouds, there’s another ocean, more
blue, more strange. If you’re adept and find
food, you might be able to climb a ladder
to the beat of music, a marching band
or electronic drum-kit rhythm.
You won’t need it, leave the music behind,
there at the top. If you’ve managed to climb
carrying in hand already-cut fruit,
there is an abandoned tree, sky on all
sides. Your task will be to climb said tree,
with footholds uneven, its branches far
apart. At the top, be able, you’ll make it
to jump right in, but vault up and out
as between city buildings separated
by a small alleyway. I tell you,
the reward of the water will be worth
all this. Tides never go out, and one
never tires of treading. You can float there
with your sliced fruit, eat section by section
in haze, sugar perfectly balanced.
—after Neo Rauch
When reindeer begin coming out sewer
grates, mythical beasts pull the plow,
time has come to re-examine the sky.
A bit of light peeks, look for cracks made
out of helium, I was made to burn.
Handle me with care when you put me
on the grill. I’ll float to a place you can-
not touch my masked inside, water wide
this red behind the silos, trees bare
above the wheat, full of cardboard and tape.
If we clear the medicine cabinet,
they’ll be no more tools. The beaver we keep
in the lightbox will be abandoned, half
man, dinosaur. So much trouble finding
food tall enough to reach its mouth upright.
Small fires rage in distances, he
runs as fast as he can waddle his large
bottom, this red rock under the dirt
calling for an eventual demise.
Don’t touch the snowman, fucker, this chalet
our land of children and snow, red rage, stop
scaring all these customers back through this
turnstile. Now, go with these squash down at the
farmstand, shape of evergreens. Get going
four different colors, someone decorated
for the holiday season: orange, green,
yellow, then blue from the base moving up.
Just try cutting that open to fit all
into the oven, taking care not to mix
those multicolored seeds, our squash insides.
Jessica Baron currently teaches and studies poetry and writing in Fort Collins, Colorado at Colorado State University. She is also a professional actor and performs in the summers at the Creede Repertory Theatre in Creede, Colorado. She received a BFA in Theatre Studies from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.